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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:43 AM
Original message
"We know we're not supposed to be racists."
via MichaelMoore.com:



October 13th, 2008 8:04 pm
Racism is real in Minnesota, say political insiders, but losing its power


By Bill Salisbury and Richard Chin / Twin Cities Pioneer Press


Every Thursday night, Jeanine Owusu, of St. Paul, works at a United Food and Commercial Workers phone bank, calling her union brothers and sisters to encourage them to vote for Barack Obama and other labor-endorsed candidates.

Once or twice each night, "people tell me, 'I'm not voting for a nigger,' " Owusu said last week.

"Others hang up on me. Nicer people will say, 'I'm voting Republican,' even though they usually vote Democratic."

Owusu said only a "small fraction" of the traditionally Democratic, working-class voters she talks to exhibit any racial prejudice. But those voters could be key in a close Minnesota contest between Obama and John McCain.

Obama's Minnesota campaign director, Jeff Blodgett, said he isn't worried about a racial backlash. Concerns about the economy have overwhelmed race as an issue in the state, he said.

"We're hearing pretty much one thing, and that's concerns about the economy and economic turmoil," Blodgett said. "That's what this race is about."

Some voters disagree.

"I think race is going to have an impact," said Vincent Kain, a 23-year-old Pakistani-American from St. Paul who supports Obama. "We're not evolved enough where race is not going to be an issue." ...........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latestnews/index.php?...




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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. I think this is the most racist nation on the planet
Edited on Thu Oct-16-08 11:50 AM by tblue
but we're getting better in terms of black & white. Less so with respect to Muslims and Arabs. Obama is the target of anti-black and anti-Muslim (even though he's not Muslim) prejudice. I am so ashamed of American bigots. Their frustration and anger over their lot in life is misdirected and their xenophobia is downright unamerican.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. That is not true
There are more minorities in the US government and state and local governments than in any other Western society. Do you think Obama would have a chance to be on a party ticket in Britain, France, Germany, Italy? Yes racism still exists, but the US is way ahead of many other Western nations.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Answer: yes.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. Yes to what?
The data is not on your side.
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lelgt60 Donating Member (417 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. And how many have you lived in?
I'm not black, but I certainly experienced far more anti-semitism and observed more racism in Western Canada than in the Western US. Same with Paris, France with respect to both black people and Muslims.

Unfortunately race/ethnic hate is not the domain of one country. It seems to pervade all of humanity.

That said, I believe we have to fix where we live, first.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. I am black. I have lived in England and traveled to South America, Africa,
Edited on Thu Oct-16-08 12:20 PM by tblue
all around Europe, Mexico, Canada. I stand by my statement. I've been in restaurants here in California that wouldn't seat my party. Have you? The fact that this country still reacts to race in this way, with so many black people in prison, on death row, and in poverty, and when a man of Barack Obama's stellar character, achievement, brilliance, and talent is vilified for his race, has his life threatened for his race, has his wife attacked for her race -- to me makes this a racist nation. Black people can't even be assured that they can vote in this country, despite our Constitution and Bill of Rights. I have a friend from Iran who gets treated like dirt here; people don't want to do business with him for no discernible reason. A woman in a city not far from me was gunned down in front of her child because she looked like a Muslim. Huge swaths of this nation are filled with bigots. This election has put them on Page 1, but I've always known they were here. Just the fact that people are shocked at the ugliness of McCain rallies shows that a lot of America does not even know America. We'd all like to believe our country is a shining city on a hill. But it is not. America is not who America pretends to be and it is not what it says it stands for.
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lelgt60 Donating Member (417 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. I agree that there is plenty of racism in America...
Edited on Thu Oct-16-08 01:23 PM by lelgt60
I'm just not convinced it is "the most Racist country in the world".

In the end, it doesn't matter, because I agree it is obviously bad here, and we need to fix it best we can.

I think we should also teach three things to all kids starting very early:

1) What America is supposed to stand for.
2) That those things are not true in practice for many people, and that it's everyone's job to change that for the better.
3) That we should cut a break to those who have it tougher than we do, whether it's due to illness, poverty, or racism.

You can't fix it if you don't know what you're trying to achieve, and you won't try to fix it if you don't think it's broken.


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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. Mexico...you had no issues overtly
because you are a gabacho... which is quite racist and pejorative... but nobody will tell this to you to your face.

Racism exists... and it is bad, even in Mexico... try to run for office as a 100% indian blood... for example

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ProudToBeBlueInRhody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. They throw bananas at black soccer players in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy.....
Edited on Thu Oct-16-08 04:19 PM by ProudToBeBlueInRhody
And no one bats an eye. Seriously, it's a regular occurance and no one says a thing over there.

I've never seen that like that at any sporting event here.

Edit: When Anson Carter (black Canadian hockey player) played in Russia, they tossed bananas at him from the stands and made monkey sounds when he touched the puck.
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noiretextatique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. i am black too, and i agree with you
Edited on Thu Oct-16-08 04:18 PM by noiretblu
many black people probably would. and like you, i have also lived outside this country.
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MajPayne2 Donating Member (165 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. As a service member of color,
I have traveled the world several times over in my 17 years of service. I have to say that the racial tension here in the US is constant and quite subtle in other places. Just look at the Obama Bucks food stamp. I don't even like watermelon!
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #15
41.  I want to punch anyone who says this is not a racist country.
If it wasn't, IBM would create software in Watts.
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Number23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-17-08 03:20 AM
Response to Reply #15
44. Beautifully put
Just the fact that people are shocked at the ugliness of McCain rallies shows that a lot of America does not even know America.

Well said...
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
20. Racism exist everywhere... just looks different from place to place
but for all the Pollyanna who think this will have no effect... well there you have it
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
22. Not even close.
For a really extreme example, try e.g. Rwanda or parts of the Balkans, but frankly there are probably significantly more nations where racism is more prevalent than the US than not.
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entanglement Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #22
35. "At least we're better than Rwanda"? n/t
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. It's only not worth stating the obviously true when people aren't claiming the obviously false.
Actually, though, as I said, far stronger claims than that are true - there are more countries with more racism than the US than with less.
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
23. Dunno... I'd put Japan on top.
Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there! ;-)
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Fleshdancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. I have lived there and it can be pretty interesting
The hardest thing was finding a place to live. Many landlords automatically said no once they discovered my husband and I weren't Japanese. A few agreed to interview us first since we were American and not Korean. :eyes:
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. The Japanese have xenophobia down to a fine science.
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wvbygod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. Yeah, just look at all those other white countries and their goverments
Oh wait...The USA has more ethnic minorities in its public service roles than any other country.

Never mind.
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skooooo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
33. How many other countries have you been in?
My guess is not many.
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qwlauren35 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
36. No, we are not. Not by a long shot.
You just haven't been to enough other countries to see it.

Remember, a black man in Britain was shot for wearing an Obama shirt.

Racism is part of human nature. Remember Germany and WWII.

We're bad, but not that bad.
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Cid_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
40. I think...
... there are a few ethnically cleansed areas of the world that would rank above us. Sheesh. Heard of certain parts of Africa? or Eastern Europe? or God knows where else?

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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. I was listening to some show where some preacher was saying how people
were still "good people" even if they won't vote for a person because of their skin hue.

And for days now, what he said has been playing over and over in my head.

I just can't wrap my head around the thinking that a racist is a good person.

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prayin4rain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. yep a person who allow their racism to determine their actions is not a good person, period. n/t
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Exactly!
And this man just kept going on and on about how you can't judge a person just because they're a racist.

It was astounding...
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. And he's an idiot. If it's not righteous, it's not right.
A racist by definition is a bad person in my view. I don't care how nice a person is to their 'own kind.' That's easy. It's when you can be kind beyond that that you are capable of greatness.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I agree...by definition..a bad person
It was truly astounding to hear this man rationalize racism. He was so calm and sure of himself.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Please tell us the name of this preacher.
I'd like to give him a piece of my mind.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Didn't catch it. I was watching the TV guide channel for my American stations
I live in Germany and this was AFN TV...and it was some talk radio show playing as the TV listings scrolled... and I just caught it by chance and the person doing the show said listen to the comments from Reverend somebody...and I didn't catch the name.


It wasn't Rush though (I was surprised it wasn't)which does play on that channel...some other man.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-17-08 01:06 AM
Response to Reply #10
42. tblue, your dog is adorable
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MonteLukast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Racism is a visceral response.
That's how "good people" can still have racist tendencies. It all has to do with competition for jobs and love, and emotional comfort.
One of our most shameful human traits is our tendency to stick with people like us, no matter what the consequences. Because Comfort Uber Alles. Because as humans, we should be BETTER than animals.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Yet that comfort zone is just so stifling...
And it takes work..active work...to root those feelings out...you have to be open to recognizing them and then exploring why you think that way...but it can be done.

Is it just easier to shut down and close yourself off that way?
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MonteLukast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Yes, most people don't have the time or energy for that active work
Our time is already stretched to the limit as it is, with employers getting more demanding, commute times getting longer, children needing quantity time...

If I were more conspiracy-minded, I would swear everything was part of a purposeful pattern, to keep us from having enough energy for anything BUT the visceral response. The better to not get politically involved, the better to more easily swallow RW talking points.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I don't think it's a conspiracy-minded to think that hate/prejudices and other ways to divide
Edited on Thu Oct-16-08 12:46 PM by Solly Mack
people is a goal for many in power.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
26. Racism is not a visceral response. Babies are not born racists.
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MonteLukast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. Where is the interface between "inborn visceral" and "social visceral"?
Sometimes I think it's a burden, not a blessing, that humans are social beings. We're susceptible to all manner of manipulation if group membership is at stake. Interdependence can keep us from reaching our full potential, just as well as it can bring out the humanity in us.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. You're confusing innate and learned.
And living in society gives us one more learning channel. What we learn is something else.
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MonteLukast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. So visceral always = innate?
I wasn't sure.

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Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
39. Ignorance does not always mean a person is bad
My own mother, to give an example, grew up in the segregated south. She was more or less indoctrinated from the first day she could understand language with the prevalent attitudes of those days. Even after you know better, as my mother does, it's hard to shape that sort of ingrained behavior. She makes a very good effort to moderate her own upbringing, and on an intellectual level, knows that one person is as good as another. Every now and then she slips up, usually without even realizing it, and is quickly apologetic.

A lot of people are like that. "I know better, but it's still lurking in my head." This doesn't make them bad people - we all have biases and judgments and all of us slip up with them time to time. It;'s the people who are unapologetic about their racism and bigotry, or who wear it as a badge of pride who are bad people
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-17-08 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #39
45. Ignorance doesn't. Being a racist does...
Racists have gone far beyond just being ignorant of something or somebody. They've allowed their ignorance and their fear to morph into hate. Hate just doesn't sit around waiting to slip out - you have to actively feed hate. Even if it's nothing more than an unwillingness to learn or behave differently...it's still active. Even if it's just encouraging the hate of others - it's still active. Even if it's just silence - it's still active.

Nothing benign about being a racist.

Yes, we all have prejudiced thinking of some kind - stereotypes and premises we should all work to be aware of and work to rid ourselves of... and if a person is trying to rid themselves of such thinking, that person is ahead of the game.


A racist doesn't just have to overcome their ignorance to change - they have to overcome a crippling fear that warps their very being. They have to overcome hate. A racist has built their entire world-view around their hate and fear. Ignorance can be cured with a willingness to learn. It usually takes some life changing event for a racist to see beyond their own hate and fear. But even then they have to be willing to look themselves squarely in the face and recognize what they see.

Racists embrace their thinking because it feeds their self-worth. A self-worth that is rooted in ignorance and fear (and lies). A self-worth that relies on hate to feed it. They are willfully ignorant because their very being demands they remain ignorant to have any self-worth at all. The fear just won't allow them to try. It's the only identity they have...they only worth they have...and if who they are is based on lies...then the fear is just so extreme they shut their minds down and refuse to allow anything else in..

And there's just no mitigating qualities about a person who is driven by that kind of hate. That's the kind of hate that harms people...that kills other people. The kind of hate that actively encourages the oppression of others.




































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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
13. the task is to make these expressions absolutely unacceptable
. . . among our peers, co-workers, etc., by confronting them directly and forcefully.
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Stellabella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-16-08 07:36 PM
Response to Original message
38. Quit saying Minnesota is close!
It isn't, and it will be a clear victory for Obama.
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MrSlayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-17-08 02:59 AM
Response to Original message
43. Lots of racists here in Philly.
But they're getting more and more upset as it becomes more likely that Obama is going to win. I want this as much as I want the Eagles to win the Super Bowl, which is as close to religion as I get. I want to see those fuckers squirm.
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